So how to get rid of the clutter and decorations without filling up a landfill or just slinging it all into a box and stuffing it into that subterranean landfill I call "storage"?
It's easy: Donate.
Here's my plan:
First I'm going to take down the Christmas decorations. There are a lot of items that I put up this year not because I liked them but because I'd always put them up and didn't have a good reason not to do so again. Well, my good reason has arrived! After searching a lot of decorating blogs AND reading my new Feng Shui book, I have decided that having anything, even something seasonal, that isn't useful, beautiful, or both is a BAD IDEA. As I take the items down I am going to give each bobble a good scrutinizing to see if it goes into the 'Storage' box or the 'Donate' box. No need to give away family heirlooms, but really? The shiny gold bows I bought at Big Lots 20 years ago? No, their time has come...and gone.
Luckily I also took my own advice and used a lot of natural decorating so the nuts, seeds, cranberries, pinecones, and clove oranges can all be tossed into the woods to become treasures for the woodland creatures.
Now let's talk about gifts. Anything you received this year that you know, deep in your heart of hearts, just isn't for you and yours? Don't store it, don't *intend* to do something with it, don't let it sit somewhere until it becomes part of the landscape. Give it away. Do it now. Don't feel guilty. There is absolutely nothing wrong with moving things that are not useful and/or beautiful to you on to someone who will love them. What if the gift was given to you by someone who will a) notice it gone; b) be hurt that you don't love it; or c) spent a lot of time/money in the purchase or creation of the gift? Thank them. Thank them genuinely, lovingly, and earnestly. Then load it in your car and take it to the donation station quickly, before you lose your nerve.
As for the rest of my stuff, these last few days of the year are an excellent opportunity to donate those sweaters that I still haven't worn even though the weather has been cold for 2 months. To get rid of those platters that I still didn't use, even though I hosted a large party on Christmas Eve. To help my daughter rid herself of unused Wii games, and my husband and I both need to do a good book purge (though I'll confess that of all the items I donate, books are the hardest with which to part).
And the benefits of my hard work? HUGE! Cleaner house, less clutter, items that really reflect my decorating taste NOW not 10 years ago, tax deductions, good example for my daughter, lightening up is good for the mind, body, and soul, less to store, more room to invite into my life those items I would like now (I have a bedroom chair in mind, more on that later), and according to Feng Shui, my Chi'i should be off the charts with all the positive energy flow.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. I feel lighter already.
How about you?